Going to jail is never easy, and it’s even harder for first time inmates. While there isn’t much you can do about going to jail, knowledge of important information and basic preparation will help you immensely. We at ABC Bail Bonds compiled this list of the five most important pieces of advice for first time inmates to help transform your first time jail experience. If you learn as much as possible about what will benefit you in jail before going, you will be surprised at how much will help you.

Also see: Turning Yourself In? What You Need to Know

1. Learn How Visitation Works

First and foremost, learn everything you can about visitation. When in jail, you are completely isolated from the rest of the world. Keeping in contact with your loved ones will transform your first time inmate experience. Every jail and detention facility has different visitation schedules, but Harris County jail’s visitation information is available online.

For Harris County jail inmate visitation information, click here.

As a first time inmate, it’s important to learn visitation schedules ahead of time so you can have an easier time seeing friends and family. Additionally, find out what you’re able to do during visitation—what you can do, where you can do it. In order to make your first time inmate experience as ideal as possible, learn all you can about visitation.

As an added tip: try arranging family and friend visits on different days. By spreading them out, it could give you something to look forward to.

2. Understand How Money Works Inside

Understanding how money works while in jail will benefit you immensely. First time inmates must have a good grasp on finances in jail, as it could transform their entire experience. Most jails, including Harris County jails, keep a tab for you to ensure you don’t lose your money or have it stolen. At Harris County jail, the commissary desk is where you can spend your money on things you want and need. 

Before going to jail, learn how to access your money—and have more sent to you. Ask how you can deposit money into your account. This will not only make your first time inmate experience much easier, but will ease the burden on those outside of jail caring for you.

3. Learn What “Good Behavior” Is

Different jail facilities have a list of guidelines that constitute “good behavior,” and Harris County jail is no different. More often than not, jail sentences can drastically be reduced for good behavior. Before going to jail, call them to ask about inmate good behavior, and where to find more information. 

For a complete list of Harris County jail information, click here.

The simple act of asking around and inquiring for information will give a good impression. Being on the good side of jail guards and staff will be a major benefit for your first time inmate experience.

As an added tip: remember that Harris County jail (and most jails throughout the country) are overcrowded. This is a sad fact, but at the same time, the reason why reducing sentences for good behavior is common. 

4. Learn About General Services

This is perhaps the most important tip on the list. Many jails, including Harris County jail, offer beneficial services like education programs, work programs and medical options for inmates. As a first time inmate, it is best to know exactly what’s available to you. When you utilize the jail services offered, you can drastically improve your overall position.

When in jail, you have nothing but time. By using your time wisely and improving yourself, you can put yourself in a much better position when you get out of jail. Take the time to learn how to improve your life while in jail.

For religious inmates, most jails have multi-denominational chapels and places of worship as well. If you find it particularly beneficial, they can be a great sanctuary for you to relax, unwind, and be with yourself. Before going to jail, ask about bringing religious books or symbolic items.

Also see: Have an Active Warrant? Here’s How to Avoid Jail

5. Communicate With Your Lawyer

Depending on your case, being in constant communication with a lawyer can drastically improve your first time inmate experience. In addition to staying informed about your situation, your lawyer can give you advice and help with other problems while in jail. Additionally, your lawyer may help with family issues relating to your jail time, including child custody or bills.

ABC Bail Bonds

At ABC Bail Bonds, we have over 25 years of experience helping release inmates from Harris County jail and others in Houston. If you can’t afford your full bail amount, we can get you out of jail immediately by posting your bond. We call the court, post the bond, and pick you up faster than any other bail bonds service in Harris County. To learn more about how we can help you, call our office today.